After the two landmark declarations by UK steelmakers, Tata Steel and British Steel, that they will invest in electric arc furnace technology, competitive electricity prices become even more important. UK Steel welcomes the sector’s vision for new, modern steelmaking, but to maximise the value of these investments the industry will need affordable electricity supplies.
Steelmakers in the UK pay nearly two times as much as Germany and France’s industrial electricity prices. This is partly due to higher grid connection costs in the UK, which the Government could reduce further.
Steel production’s energy-intensive nature leads to high electricity consumption, and these costs can represent up to 180% of steel producers’ Gross Value Added (GVA) in the UK. With a switch to electric arc furnaces, it is expected that the sector’s electricity consumption will roughly double.
UK Steel makes four recommendations to cut prices:
UK Steel Director General, Gareth Stace, said:
“Nearly every economy in the G20 boasts a strong steel sector, as our industry sits at the foundation of manufacturing and economic output. As our steel sector fully switches to electric furnace to reach Net Zero targets, we must not lose sight of how important electricity costs are in the move to green steel.
“While Government should be applauded for implementing the Industry Supercharger package, it doesn’t match what other governments provide for their steel industry. The average price faced by UK steelmakers for 2023/24 is £113 per MWh compared to the German and French prices of £61/MWh. That’s a price gap of £52/MWh, meaning we pay £117 million more for our electricity this year than our European competitors.
“We are on the cusp of the biggest transformation of the UK steel industry in decades. Government needs to enact our four recommendations to make the business environment even more attractive to invest here in the UK. With truly competitive electricity prices, the UK’s electric arc furnace steel industry will be here to stay.”
Louise Young, Campaigns and Engagement Manager, UK Steel 07388 370176 | Lyoung@makeuk.org
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